Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has warned Arsenal that Yohan Cabaye is still good enough to walk into the Gunners' midfield.
Cabaye, 29, was targeted by the Gunners in the summer of 2013 when they offered Newcastle £10m for the France international. The Magpies resisted the offer with Pardew, then the manager at St James' Park, later accusing Arsenal of a lack of respect over their attempts to sign the player. A move to Paris Saint-Germain later transpired but Cabaye returned to the Premier League this summer to link up with his former manager at Selhurst Park, making an immediate impact by scoring on his debut against Norwich City.
Pardew still recalls Arsenal's attempts to prise the Frenchman from his team and believes he would have no problem in replacing anyone of Arsene Wenger's options in the middle of the park. "I go back three years ago when Yohan wouldn't play at Manchester City because he thought he was going to Arsenal. So it is quite ironic he's here with us at Palace," Pardew told a press conference on Friday, The Guardian reports.
"He's a fantastic player, we are honoured to have him and he is definitely at the level of Arsenal players. I don't think Arsene Wenger or anyone at Arsenal would disagree with that. We have a player who could definitely play in their team and that is a nice feeling for us. He can give us control in games."
While Palace stormed to a 3-1 win over newly promoted Norwich City in their opening game of the season, Arsenal were upstaged by West Ham United at the Emirates, losing 2-0 to Slaven Bilic's boys. Pardew however is wary of an Arsenal backlash at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
"I'll be surprised if they're not a wounded side. Their manager has enough experience to turn that result against West Ham from a negative into a positive. It was a great performance by West Ham. I was there, and they deserved to win and Arsenal will be looking to rectify that."